The women of the six-mile-house
The women of the six-mile-house, the flume tender's house located 6 miles from Madera

The Six-Mile House of the Madera Flume

These two unidentified women went to a lot of trouble to get their picture taken on this flume tender’s house c. 1900. Known as the Six-Mile House, it was one of a string of flume tender stations along the lumber flume. As the name indicates, it was six miles from Madera. The flume tenders had few visitors and presumably enjoyed the company on this particular day. The flume tenders’ job was to prevent anything from obstructing the lumber as it moved down the 56-mile flume from present-day Oakhurst to Madera.

Water running down the flume
A giant waterslide: water running down the 56-mile flume

Although the flume was in need of repair at the time, water can be seen coursing its way down the giant water slide toward Madera. The first flume was built between 1874 and 1876 by the California Lumber Company. When that operation went bankrupt in 1877, the Madera Flume and Trading Company acquired its assets, including the flume. Later this second lumber company folded, and the flume fell into disrepair. In the late 1890s, the Madera Sugar Pine Lumber Company took over and rebuilt the flume. It continued in operation until 1933.

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